Editor's note: This is the latest in a series of profiles of local athletes.
Haverhill High boys basketball coach Mike Trovato did not expect his team to have one primary scorer this year.
Trovato expected several players would have to chip in this season to handle the scoring load. But it appears as if diminutive senior Edwin Valentin has emerged from the pack.
The 5-foot-5-inch senior guard is the team's leading scorer with 13.3 points per game in the seven games he has played and has scored 20 or more points in two of his last three games as of last Thursday.
Valentin's newfound scoring prowess is not a result of any plan set by Trovato. Instead, Valentin simply has become more confident in his own ability.
"I think he's just getting his legs back into shape (now that it's later in the season)," Trovato said. "The more he's shooting in practice, the more he gets his touch back. He's always been a phenomenal shooter."
Most of Valentin's scoring production has come from the perimeter. He has made at least three three-pointers in his last four games.
"I always have the green light to shoot the ball if I'm open," Valentin said. "I don't go in always trying to score, but if I see the opportunity I'm going to take it."
His improved offensive output may also be a result of better play on the other end of the court. Valentin took three charges in a game against Tewksbury last week, changing the momentum of the game.
"When you're playing hard on defense," Trovato said, "you get a sweat going and you get into it. He gets an extra bit of energy and momentum that translates to the offensive end of things."
"Taking charges just changes the momentum of the game," Valentin said. "I want to help the team win in any way I can."
The Gazette sat down with Valentin to talk about life on and off the court.
Do you think the team is where you want it to be right now?
No, we're not. We're getting there though. We need to get a couple of wins to put us in good shape.
When did you start playing basketball?
I was in the sixth grade. I played baseball until then. I got a basketball and just kept shooting and shooting. I was the captain at (Consentino School) and we made it to the championship game twice.
Does any of your family play basketball?
My brother Javier Bristol played at Haverhill. He plays for Anna Maria College.
Do you hope to play in college too?
I have talked to the coach at Southern Maine Community College. But I haven't decided where I will go next.
Do you have any goals for this season?
We want to make it to the state tournament and have a winning record ... We need to stay positive and I want to help the younger kids get better for next year.
How do you mentor some of the younger players on your team?
I will help practice with the JV team .... I'll help them practice defensive skills such as squaring up to their man so they can become better.
Let's do some favorites. What's your favorite band/artist?
"No Church in the Wild" by Jay-Z and Kanye West
Los Angeles Clippers
Miami Heat forward LeBron James. He's amazing and an all-star. He can do anything.
Subject in school?
Math. I seem to learn it fast.
I work at Renaissance Golf Club doing maintenance over the summer and hang out with my family.
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